Ketogenic Rule #6: Tell Me What You Eat . . . & I Will Tell You Who You Are.
How we look at lifestyle choices can often be from very different perspectives and those perspectives powerfully influence our diets. Oh, by the way, today is National Pig Appreciation Day. You probably didn’t know it, but the holiday celebration was started in 1972 by sisters Ellen Stanley, a teacher in Lubbock, Texas, and Mary Lynne Rave of Beaufort, North Carolina. According to Rave the purpose of National Pig Day is “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals” (1).
“Why would you even think about this stuff?” you may be asking yourself. I specialize in ketogenic diets, using fat to treat disease, lower cholesterol, reverse diabetes and lose weight. Yes, you could call me a “fat doctor.” Bacon is approximately 45-50% fat and so, this specially cured super-food is one of those “wonder foods” that helps cure disease in the ketogenic world.
I had the opportunity to attend a low carbohydrate/ketogenic dietary medical conference this last weekend. The world leaders in Low Carbohydrate, High Fat, Ketogenic diets from every corner of the globe all gathered together in Colorado to share knowledge about treating the diseases of civilization with diet.
The underlying theme was a focus on the use of fat and protein with more effectiveness. Even among “those who know,” opinions differ as to how much fat and how much protein. I find it interesting that if you have a conversation with three doctors all together in the same room, you will end up with five opinions. However, the cause of weight gain that we all agree on is excess production of insulin. Increased insulin in the blood causes fat storage. Weight gain is hormonal.
Wait . . . let me say it again. We gain weight because of hormones, not because of over consumption of calories.
We have known for many years that carbohydrate restriction is so important for turning off the hormone signal to store fat (see The Dreaded Seven . . . Seven Detrimental Things Caused By High Insulin Loads). In my office, I recommend starting at less than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day. This level of restriction seems to be most effective for most of my patients beginning the ketogenic lifestyle. If you’re new to ketosis and/or low carb diets see my two articles about the principles of the Ketogenic Lifestyle: The Principle Based Ketogenic Lifestyle . . . Part I & Ketogenic Principles . . . Part II.
The magic that most people never realize is that in order for fat to become therapeutic in treating the diseases of civilization, you must increase your natural fat intake to greater than 50-60% of your total caloric consumption per day and lower your carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams per day. However, even when carbohydrates lowered or eliminated, I still see a number of patient’s who hit plateaus with their weight. They often tell me that they are “strictly following their carbohydrate restriction,” and I believe that they are truly trying. However, the lab work that we do regularly usually tells another story. You see, inflammatory markers and hormones don’t lie. Insulin is a hormone that directly stimulates markers of inflammation. Carbohydrates are not the only things that stimulate insulin.
If you are struggling with weight loss plateau’s, keep a food journal. If you tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you why you’re gaining or not losing weight. Things that stimulate insulin and/or inflammatory response:
- Carbohydrate intake > 20 grams in a 4-6 hour period of time ( or > 20 grams in 24 hours for those insulin resistant/diabetic patients)
- Protein intake greater than needed for Ideal Body Weight. (See how to calculate your protein intake here.)
- Stress response due to poor gut bacterial colonization
- Poor absorption of B12, B6 due to MTHFR reduction or deficiency.
- Environmental or Situational Stress
- Chronic Infection or Injury
Lab markers implying high insulin response or inflammation:
- Fasting Insulin > 5 mU/ml
- Triglycerides > 100 mg/dl
- Small Dense LDL (sdLDL) Particle > 500 nmol/L
- LDL-P > 1200 nmol/L
- C-Reactive Protein Elevation
- Erythrocytes Sedimentation Rate Elevation
- Leptin > 20 ng/ml
- Adiponectin <14 mg/ml
- Testosterone (men) <300 ng/dl
- Fasting Blood Sugars consistently > 110 mg/dl
If your weight is plateauing, the lists above will give you a starting point. I recommend you follow up with your doctor, someone who can help tease out the subtle causes of plateauing weight loss.
While at the conference, I also got some great in depth education about using exogenous ketones like Keto//OS. I’ve been watching their use from the periphery for quite some time. My interest has been peaked in the last few months as I have seen some significant successes with their use. In fact, I tried them out while skiing with my son at the conference. This 46 year old found he could keep up with his son due to increased energy, greater clarity of thought and appetite suppression while using them, as well as enhanced ability to maintain ketosis throughout the three days that I tried them out. The benefit of using exogenous ketones can also be found in a fuel source that doesn’t increase insulin, and has some documented effect on re-balancing bacterial colonies in the gut. If you’re interested in using them for your ketogenic lifestyle (yes, this is the shameless plug for one of the supplements that I personally use), click on the image below.
I also tried using a new ADAPT high fat bars and fat shots. These are a great option for high fat replacement or supplementation without all the “carbage.”
Both products are fantastic options to add to the ketogenic lifestyle for the elite athlete or the busy mom who just needs a quick ketogenic snack while at her son’s soccer game.
See this evenings Periscope video about National Pig Appreciation Day and my answers to a number of burning ketogenic questions from around the world:
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- A Pig-Out for porkers. February 23, 1980 Associated Press story reported in Virgin Islands Daily News